Harrogate Town 2 - 1 AFC Telford United
JP Pittman’s brace helped Harrogate Town to a first league win since September as AFC Telford United were seen off at The CNG Stadium.
After a frustrating first half that contained very little action in front of goal, Pittman opened the scoring two minutes before the hour mark turning in substitute James Cadman’s cross.
Pittman then claimed his second and secured all three points for his side five minutes from time heading home Joe Leesley’s whipped cross as Town hit on the counter attack.
Simon Weaver’s men were denied a comfortable finish though as Jon Royle headed The Bucks right back into the mix in the 90th minute.
Despite a nervy final few moments, Town saw out the victory that sees them rise to tenth in the National League North table.
Weaver made one change from last weekend’s FA Trophy draw with Salford City as Paul Thirlwell replaced Luke Shiels in the heart of defence.
Just like last weekend Lloyd Kerry went close to opening the scoring within the first five minutes, but this team couldn’t repeat the trick after good hold up play from JP Pittman.
Town’s midfielder then turned creator, breaking in behind the visitors defence and crossing towards Pittman only for James Montgomery to deny the striker at point blank range.
Weaver’s men remained on top for the majority of the first half, but could not find a way past The Lilywhites’ well drilled defence that managed to block attempts from Pittman and Warren Burrell.
Town introduced new signing Cadman at the interval in the hope of snatching a lead, and the midfielder nearly did just that nine minutes after the restart clipping the post after Pittman’s pull back.
The breakthrough eventually arrived two minutes shy of the hour mark as Cadman broke down the left and picked out Pittman to claim his 12th goal of the season.
With fifteen minutes left to play, Connor Mcarthy tried to pull The Bucks level cutting inside and shooting, but Chris Elliott was equal to the attempt.
The hosts still carried a threat though, as Pittman beat his marker on the right and crossed for Andi Thanoj whose header was off target.
With Telford pouring men forward Weaver’s men hit on the break as Joe Colbeck found Joe Leesley on the left wing and in position to cross onto the head of Pittman who made no mistake from close range.
Pittman almost claimed a hat-trick just seconds later as he flicked Cadman’s drive towards goal only for Montgomery to stick out a hand and deny the forward.
Town could forget about having an easy final few minutes though as Telford clawed a goal back through Royle’s towering header just as the Referee’s Assistant indicated four minutes of injury time.
Harrogate Town: Elliott, Turner, Swain, Ainge, Thirlwell, Burrell, Thanoj, Kerry (Cadman 45), Brooksby (Colbeck 62), Pittman, Clee (Leesley 76)
Subs not used: Chilaka, Emmett
Goals: Pittman 58, 85
Booked: Swain, Colbeck
AFC Telford: Montgomery, Samuels (Bailey 55), O’Hanlon, Haver, Mccone, Rea (Fitzpatrick 64), Wilson, Kissock, Hodge (Reynolds 69), Mcarthy, Royle
Subs not used: Kearns, Hibbert
Goals: Royle 90
Referee: M Rawcliffe